July 25, 2024
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The Wonders of Lubavitch

My Mordechai and I always considered ourselves fortunate to have many friends affiliated with Chabad while we were living in Montreal. With great wonder and pride I am always more and more overwhelmed by the work of the shluchim who live in every corner of the world. As I write this, I am listening to the Gala Banquet of the International Conference of Chabad Shluchim, which takes place twice a year. Six thousand participants are enjoying a banquet in Edison, New Jersey before they return to their home communities. I began to watch the banquet at the exact moment when the shaliach from Reykjavik, Iceland was called to the podium to discuss his and his wife’s experiences in living in, one could say, such a God-forsaken place.

Rabbi Avraham Feldman and his wife, Mushky, together with their young daughters and newly born son, are making sure that one will never again say that Reykjavik is God-forsaken. They arrived in 2018. Imagine one of your children telling you that he was moving to Iceland, Guangzhou, or even the Canary Islands. I recently had a discussion with someone who told me that the possibility of having their young married child move to Montreal would be out of the realm of possibility!

As Rabbi Feldman spoke of their mission in the Land of Fire and Ice, he was proud to share their accomplishments to date. As a little side note, Shabbat in Iceland ends officially on Sunday morning because there is technically no Saturday night.

We all know that when one travels there no longer seems to be a question of where to get kosher food. The usual retort: “Call Chabad; they will take care of you.”

What is really the essence of this article and why my Mordechai and I both loved Chabad so much is the fact that they are nonjudgmental and welcome everyone into their communities. In the past few weeks there was a Shabbat Project in several communities where people were encouraged to invite acquaintances, neighbors or friends who do not or have never experienced a Shabbat. When I attempted to ask community members to join in this undertaking by inviting people that they knew who did not observe Shabbat, their responses were shockingly negative.

This is what Chabad is all about and I applaud them. They do not hesitate.

It was through the kindness and friendship of Rabbi and Mrs. Isaac Schwei, z’l, the Gniwisch family and many others in Montreal with whom we felt close enough to be family that I realized the greatness that is accomplished in their quiet but charming ways. In Rochester I cherish the friendship of Rabbi Dovid and Chani Mochkin, who work diligently for the community, and many of their children are now scattered across the world. I know that for my daughter and her husband, and for me as well, we have also become close as family. I applaud Rabbi Simon and his wife in Teaneck and Rabbi and Mrs. Mendy Kaminker in Hackensack, who are providing the Hackensack Jewish community with an awakening to their own heritage.

I applaud the Chabad communities all over the world and I hope that you will all join me.

Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected].

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